Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Fired Up

I showed up a bit after 5:30. I hadn’t been expecting the traffic situation on Route 32. The main room at Jailbreak Brewery was already well more than half-filled and abuzz with conversation. I was there for Ignite HoCo 5, an event sponsored by the local Chapter of Conscious Capitalism.

Conscious Capitalism of Central Maryland describes itself: 

C3MD is a purpose-driven business community that promotes the power of capitalism to create positive change, do good, and elevate humanity.
We inspire and equip individuals and organizations to embrace and implement conscious business principles through educational programs, practical tools, and strategic partnerships.

Ignite is a particular sort of public speaking concept. Each speaker is allotted five minutes and must use twenty slides to convey a topic about which they are passionate. They seem to be quite successful locally, since this is the fifth one and they already have a date for next year’s event on the books.

Jailbreak is a great venue for these events. For a ten dollar ticket price, those in a attendance get two drink tickets and access to an ample buffet which sampled from Jailbreak’s regular menu. An interesting aside: the last time I was  at Jailbreak they didn't have in house food service and relied on visiting food trucks. Clearly I haven’t been there for quite awhile.

In addition to providing a venue, food, and drinks, included in the ticket price was a drawing at the conclusion of the event to present a donation of 500.00 to the winner’s non-profit organization of choice. Pretty cool, I’d say. I had to duck out before the end so I don’t know who won. I’ll update 
when I find out.

As to the speeches themselves, they weren’t quite what I was expecting. I guess I was thinking something more like performance art or a poetry slam. What I saw was personal, confessional, even intimate. It doesn’t seem likely that speaking to a room full of people with a clock ticking could be intimate, but, it was. These were not political speeches, or sales speeches. The speakers each found their way to hold up one thing to the light and focus on it.

Standouts in the first half for me were Matt Gresick who spoke on standardized assessments vs hands-on experiences in education, and Lisa Schlossnagle who told the story of her daughter’s alopecia areata diagnosis and why she, as a mother, was choosing baldness. While these two in particular spoke to me, all of the speakers I heard provided valuable insights and perspectives.

It was the first event I had been to in quite a while that was neither a concert nor a political function. While I saw a few people I knew, it was good to be in a room of largely unknown faces who were drawn together by this organization. 

Wendy Baird of Insight180 did an excellent job as MC, and C3MD President Wendy Moomaw kicked off the evening with a brief speech about practicing Capitalism with a goal of doing good and bringing good through one’s interactions. It really made me think.

IgniteHoCo5 was fun and informative. I can’t imagine having the courage to stand up and be heard in the way. A tip of the hat to all the participants who took that risk last night. 

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